Can You Use Any Charger With Any Mobile Phone, Laptop, Camera, or Tablet?
Every mobile phone, laptop, and tablet seem to come with their own charger. If you are like me, you’ve probably compiled quite a few chargers over the years. So the question becomes: is it safe to use a charger with your phone, laptop, camera, or tablet that is not the original manufacturer’s charger which came with the device?
Types of Chargers
In this guide, we’ll concentrate on three types of chargers: laptop chargers, micro USB chargers (these are used with phones, tablet computers, and cameras), and Apple Lightning Connectors. While some devices have chargers using a slightly different head or charging cable, these are the most common.
Laptop chargers are rather specific to the device they come with. However, there may be some generic chargers that boast the capability to be interchanged between notebooks. This always requires changing of this charger”head” and might not be the optimal charging amperage or voltage to your device.
Micro USBs are designed to be interchangeable, and are standard in most smartphones, Android devices, and tablets. Micro USB chargers typically have the same voltage, but may draw various amps. I will explain this further later and how to know if the charger is safe to use (depending on its listed amps and voltage).
For older devices using a 30-pin charge port, a connector can be used to control the Lightning Connector.
For a charger for use on another device, it’s important that the plug of the charger (the”head”) fit snugly to the charging port of the unit. Micro USBs are the same across the board so far as charging heads, while laptop chargers are usually specific to both make and model. However, the plug fitting securely is just 1 part of this equation.
Somewhere on the power brick of the charger you’ll find a tag with the charger’s voltage (V) and amperage (A). For other types of chargers, like a smartphone charger, this information is usually found at the bottom of the charger, in which it would meet up with the wall. For the device you are attempting to charge, the voltage and amperage required will be found on the battery that came with the device or on the manufacturer’s website.
Voltage is how much power the charger will draw in the device, or just how much is being”pushed” into the device by the charger. A phone will usually pull up to approximately 5V, though a laptop can pull up to 25V. A charger must equal the voltage needed by the device. This is important: drawing too high a voltage could short out the device and possibly even begin a fire, while too low a voltage will fail to charge the battery.
Amperage is how quickly power is”pulled” into the device, or how much electricity is used by the device. The quantity of volts won’t ever change, but the amount of amps that the device pulls may change depending on how hard the device is working. The number that you locate on the battery that came with your device will be the maximum amount of amps that can be pulled from the device. In order to swap chargers, the amp number on the charger must equal or exceed the amp number listed on the device’s battery. If a unit is paired with a charger that cannot support the amp necessity, it can burn out the power source and kill the device.
So if you have a modern USB device (smart phone, tabletcomputer, or camera) you can plug into a high-amperage USB port and enjoy faster charging (so long as the voltage is equal). *Site Note: if you have an older device, it may not work with USB ports that use the new Battery Charging Specification.
If The Micro USB Charger’s Voltage Is Not 5v…
Some devices might have their voltage recorded using a plus/minus on it like that: 5v +- 5%. If this is the case, you can use a charger rated at 4.75 to 5.25v because that rating is telling you is that the apparatus can take 5v minus 5% of 5v = 4.75 volts OR 5v plus 5% of 5v = 5.25 volts. So this means anything between 4.75 t0 5.25v is safe to use (so long as the amperage of the charger is equivalent to or higher than the device’s listed amperage).
An interesting point to note is chargers provide a higher voltage than the batteries that they charge. That is pretty much how they operate. There has to be a voltage differential to produce the necessary current flow in the correct way to charge the battery. When you look at your car, it has a 12V battery, but typical alternators provide 13.8 to 14.4V charging voltage to the battery.
Stay Away From Cheap Knockoff Chargers
The problem with knockoffs, particularly cheap knockoffs, is that they often don’t support the energy requirements of the device, or aren’t built to maintain a steady flow safely. Overall, it’s better to stay with the charger designed for the device you are using.
Now You Know How To Safely & Effectively Swap Chargers
I hope this article was able to help you. Now you know how to safely and efficiently use a charger that did not come with your smart phone, laptop, camera, tablet, or other device. Make sure to follow what we said and you should be ready to go!